Open Handset Alliance Member Profiles (Week #5 – China Mobile)
For 34 weeks, each Tuesday, Jordan from fandroid.net will be joining us to offer a profile of each of the 34 members of the Open Handset Alliance.
Company Name: China Mobile Communications Corporation
How the OHA site classifies them: Mobile Operator
What the OHA site says about them: Nothing. There’s no blurb. Might be a translation issue.
What they do: Provide mobile service to more people than any other carrier in the world.
They have somewhere around two-thirds of the Chinese mobile market, which, according to Wikipedia, gives them 350 million customers. That’s a lot. They also own Pakistan telecommunications company Paktel, which seems like an odd fit, but whatever. China Mobile is the largest company on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
They’re owned by the government of the People’s Republic of China, which may or may not be OK depending on how you feel about human rights and the decline of the West.
What they bring to OHA and Android: A massive subscriber base.
Just recently at the World Economic Forum, China Mobile scared the hell out of a bunch of people when their CEO Wang Jianzhou said in response to queries about what it does with users private information: “We can access the information and see where someone is, but we never give this information away … Only if the security authorities ask for it.” Owned by the Chinese Government + Only if the security authorities ask for it = someone’s Chinese ass in jail.
Google’s mantra is Don’t Be Evil. Now, I don’t really think that the Chinese Government is evil, nor is China Mobile; the world just isn’t black and white like that, and I have an aversion to ethnocentrism. But Don’t Be Evil is as much a PR slogan as anything else, and I would bet that a large majority of the public to whom that slogan is meant to appeal would not consider it an act of goodness to hand location information from a GPS-enabled handset over to the Chinese authorities, who are not well known for their respect for human rights. But, such is the reality of the World Economy that Google is in a consortium with a company that may or may not be doing something the public of the western world would find distasteful.
What do they really bring to the OHA? Moral ambiguity.